Red Hat to ship mid-level server OS

Linux company Red Hat Inc. will announce Wednesday a new mid-level server operating system in a bid to expand its sales beyond its high-end, enterprise-focused Advanced Server. It also announced the availability of its workstation operating system for 32-bit systems.

The new Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES product is designed to do less heavy lifting than Advanced Server, which has now been renamed Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS. The ES product runs on 32-bit Intel Corp. processors and is designed for network, file, print, mail, and Web applications, according to Red Hat, based in Raleigh, N.C. The AS product runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

Red Hat also announced that its workstation product, now called Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS, will be available on 32-bit systems. The software was previously available only on 64-bit Itanium systems through Hewlett-Packard Co.

With the new ES and WS offerings, Red Hat hopes to expand its reach farther into its current clients’ enterprises, said Mark de Visser, the company’s vice-president of marketing. While the Red Hat sales team is focused on enterprise customers, de Visser expects that resellers or computer manufactures may find a market for the ES and WS products with small- and medium-sized businesses, who may be interested in the lower prices of the ES and WS products.

“This expands the market for us,” de Visser said of the ES and WS offerings. “We can span a much wider area of deployment. We expect to drive deeper into the corporations we already do business with.”

Pricing is based on annual subscriptions for levels of service. Advanced Server prices were US$799 for a basic level of service, which included 90 days of installation support; US$1,499 for a standard package, including five-day-a-week, 12-hour-a-day support, and a premium package, with seven-day, 24-hour support. Prices on Itanium systems are US$500 higher.

With the launch of ES, the basic support option for AS will be discontinued. ES will be US$349 for the basic support package, and US$799 for the standard support package, with no premium package available.

WS, which Red Hat has aimed at the engineering workstation market, will be US$179 per seat for basic support, and US$299 for standard support. Again, prices are US$500 higher for WS on Itanium.

“We are certainly expecting that this product will expand into a corporate desktop type of product,” de Visser added.

Red Hat Linux 8.0, the open source operating system that can be downloaded for free, continues to be available for desktops and low-level servers.

Red Hat is taking orders on both ES and WS. The two new products should ship within two weeks, de Visser said.